Lyon College will kick off its 150th anniversary celebration with ScotsFest, the 42nd Arkansas Scottish Festival and Lyon College Homecoming, from Friday October 14th to Sunday October 16th on the Batesville campus.
General admission to the festival is free, although some individual and past events require an entry fee.
“While every ScotsFest is a great festival, this year represents something special in the life of our community: an opportunity to come together, alumni and friends, from all corners of Arkansas and across the country to celebrate 150 years of history and tradition at Lyon College,” said Dr. David Hutchison, Vice President for Advancement.
The Arkansas Scottish Festival began in 1979 as a small fair on the campus intramural grounds to honor the Scottish heritage of the College’s Presbyterian founders. It has become one of Arkansas’ best-known festivals and one of the most important festivals in the United States to honor Scottish heritage and traditions. This is the second year that the festival will be combined with Lyon College Homecoming.
Presented by Lyon College and lead partners White River Health and Experience Independence, ScotsFest will feature a variety of activities to celebrate Lyon College’s 150th anniversary, including special musical performances, gatherings of alumni and friends, dances Scottish sheepdog demonstrations, a dog show, children’s activities, a cutest lap contest, a feast and a ceilidh. .
“The whole weekend is truly a huge kickoff for 10 consecutive days of special events and activities that showcase our unique history as a pioneer college in the foothills of the Ozarks, our journey to a national college liberal arts today, and in anticipation of that big things are in store not just for Lyon College, but for Arkansas,” Hutchinson said.
Cindy Barber, Executive Director of Alumni Engagement, said: “There is always an air of excitement on campus during ScotsFest, and we love to see so many alumni and friends return to Lyon. This year you don’t want to miss it. We look forward to celebrating with you our Scottish heritage, homecoming, 150th anniversary and the exciting future of Lyon College.
John 3:16 Ministries, a spiritual bootcamp for men with drug and alcohol addictions, will set up and take down the festival.
ScotsFest will begin with open classes, a President’s Reception, Alumni Celebration and Awards Night, and the Kilted Mile Run/Walk at 12th and Main Street in downtown Batesville at 6 p.m.
“This year we will have several pipers from across the region and grand opening ceremonies with all the favourites: Amazing Grace, Scotland the Brave and others,” said Scottish Heritage Program director Jimmy Bell. “Come see or get into heavyweight athletics yourself. You will have the opportunity to throw rocks and weights for distance or height and throw telephone poles.
MacLachlan’s Jacobite Highlanders and Col. Munro’s 37th Infantry Regiment will be doing historical re-enactments on Saturday morning, followed by a Highland athletics competition, rocket demonstrations, bagpipe displays, Highland dancing, d ‘a softball alumni game, a Black Student Association reunion, a homecoming tailgate, a British car show, Lil’ Highlanders’ Fun Zone, Highland dance, oldtimers baseball game and Lyon volleyball game.
There will be a parade of bands and clans followed by opening ceremonies at noon with a mass pipe band concert at Couch Garden. Afternoon activities include a dog show, homecoming pep rally and homecoming football game. A party and ceilidh begin at 6:00 p.m., followed by a graduate night.
“There is nothing more thrilling than the colorful parade of clans, unless it is the soulful soundtrack provided by the bagpipes as the clans march past,” said Kenton Adler, Development Director for Scottish Heritage. “And when the bands en masse play together, it’s really unbeatable.”
Sunday programming includes a Kirkin ‘o’ the Tartan worship service at 11 a.m. in the entertainment tent with tea and scones provided at 10:30 a.m., as well as sheepdog demonstrations, Highland dancing and a most beautiful knee contest. A Club 50 celebration for those who have been alumni for more than 50 years is scheduled for noon in the Maxfield Hall at Edwards Common, with the induction of the Class of 1972 into the Club 50. The festival ends at 4 p.m.
“The Collège de Lyon invites everyone to come to this momentous occasion. ScotsFest is consistently one of the most diverse and entertaining, if not the most diverse, events in Independence County. There’s something for all ages. Forty-two years of practice made perfect,” said Pam Palermo, Director of Institutional Events.
Alongside the 150th anniversary, Founders Week celebrations will continue with daily activities the following week and culminate on October 22 with the inauguration of Dr. Melissa Taverner, President of Lyon College.
“Our 150th anniversary is going to be a celebration. We have an eventful week culminating in our 19th Presidential Inauguration and Sesquicentennial Black-Tie Gala,” Palermo said.
Here is a list of ScotsFest events planned for this year. The full program can be viewed at arscotishfest.com.